Why The Chrysler 300 SRT8 Is Truly A Sleeper Muscle Car

Shirley Beal

The Chrysler 300 SRT8 might not be what you think of when you think about muscle car. The SRT8 is quite a spacious car, and one that has a luxury interior. It’s also a four-door, with most muscle cars often being two-door coupes. But the 300 SRT8 may well be a sleeper car. The 300 SRT8 offers unadulterated power from a Hemi-V8 which you may not be able to tell from the styling of the four-door sedan. It is a understated muscle car under its skin.

Using the same platform as the Dodge Charger and a 170mph top speed, there is no doubt that the 300 SRT8 is truly a muscle car. Amazingly, the 300 SRT8 is also quite affordable in 2023. Making it a great choice for those who want some muscle, with the benefits of luxury and practicality.

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Hemi V8 Power Creates A Chrysler Muscle Car

2005 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Rear Quarter View
via Chrysler

The most obvious aspect of the Chrysler 300 SRT8 that makes it a muscle car, is that big motor under the hood. The standard engine for the first-generation 300 SRT8 is the 6.1-liter Hemi V8 engine. This is an engine that produces 425 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque. A Mercedes-sourced five-speed automatic transmission does an adequate job of channeling that power to the rear axle. The SRT8 is of course an upgraded version of the already quite capable Chrysler 300C. In the 2005 model year, the 300 SRT8 had a rapid 0-60 mph time of just 4.9 seconds.

Chrysler would go on and update the 300 SRT8 in 2011 with a 6.4-liter 392 Hemi V8 engine for the second-generation. This is an engine that, like the one before, is also shared with the Dodge Challenger and Charger. More power came from that upgrade with 470 hp on offer and 40 lb-ft of torque. Sensational numbers, and an improved eight-speed automatic transmission debuted with the car too. The 0-60 mph time was improved to 4.3 seconds and the 300 SRT8 was more than capable of taking on similar cars from Europe. Launch control was also added in the 2013 model year.

The 300 SRT8 Offered Practicality With Its Power

Chrysler 300 SRT8 2012 Interior
via Chrysler

Muscle cars aren’t renowned for their practicality, but that is partly the appeal. However, the SRT8 is a more practical car than you might expect. The interior is high quality, with various luxury touches such as Nappa leather on the sports seats and dual-zone climate control more befitting of a family sedan than a muscle car. But a four-door sedan the SRT8 very much is, with plenty of power. There is plenty of space inside, something that not every muscle car can claim to have.

The large 8.4-inch touchscreen with Chrysler’s U-connect infotainment system is also mighty impressive. A system even now that is actually hailed as one of the best to grace a North American car. There were very few elements of cheap plastic within the SRT8’s interior, something that Chrysler must take credit for. Something that will please many consumers today is that the 300 SRT8s interior features plenty of physical buttons. The touchscreen craze of today was still some time away. So having physical buttons within the 300 SRT8 makes functionality much easier.

Chrysler’s 300 SRT8 Was Still A Fast Car

Chrysler 300 SRT8 Front View
via Chrysler

A Hemi V8 engine with more than six liters of displacement is going to give plenty of speed. The 6.4-liter V8 engine version of the car has a top speed of 175 mph. Much like its 0-60 mph time, that firmly puts it in sports car territory. Not something that is easy to match with the luxury on offer inside. Drag racing videos show that while modern Hellcats can beat the SRT8, it can certainly hold its own. Its performance levels are impressive even a decade after the last generation.

Reviews at the time would praise the speedy nature of the SRT8. Evo magazine once described the 300 SRT8 as “seriously fast”. And something that could rival cars such as the BMW M5 and the Mercedes-AMG E63 of the time. All while also undercutting the prices of these two cars by a long way. So the 300 SRT8 offered speed, practicality and some level of affordability.

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The 300 SRT8 Is Still A Great Choice In 2023

2005 Chrysler 300 SRT8 Front Quarter View
via Chrysler

Even in 2023, the 300 SRT8 is a great choice for a more old-school modern muscle car. In terms of how much they go for, some examples can go for around $25,000. If you are lucky, you might find some of the earlier generation examples going for closer to $11,000. As an average, between $10,000 and $30,000 seems to be where the pricing of many of the SRT8s land. Of course, closer to $30,000 is not exactly cheap. But compared to some more modern cars, and the prices they go for, it’s sometimes hard to argue against the Chrysler 300 SRT8.

For its final innings, Chrysler introduced 300C for 2023 with a limited production run of 300 examples. The 6.4 Hemi V8 has been beefed up to 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque with an MSRP of a humble $56,595. You are unlikely to get your hands on one for anything close to that amount thanks to the alarming levels of dealership markups.

Source: Chrysler

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